The National – Thursday, February 17, 2011
By ELLEN TIAMU
Forest Minister and chairman of the Central Tenders Board, Timothy Bonga, is calling on the laws covering taxes to be amended so that Lae can benefit from business taxes earned in the city.
Bonga was speaking during the commissioning of the Huon Road in Lae last Friday.
He said that it was unfair that National Capital District be allowed to collect K15 million each month from taxation revenue while Lae’s revenue goes to the government and returns to the province as a paltry amount annually even though it was the commercial hub of the country.
“Give us what is due to us so that we can prove that we are capable of looking after our city too,” he said.
He also announced that the Department of Forestry was allocating K5 million this year for the beautification of the botanical gardens in Lae which was also where the Forest Research Institute was located.
At the same meeting, Ahi people the traditional landowners of Lae city, had been urged to remain united so together they could reap benefits for being traditional landowners.
Chairman of landowner company Ahi Holdings, Benson Nablu, said that in the past, people from the six villagers were united in all they did but that was now changing.
Nablu said the government had made a commitment prior to the elections in 2007 to fix Lae roads, build a new wharf and upgrade the Angau Memorial Hospital.
He said although things could not happen overnight, they were happening as with the Lae roads and the wharf which is being dredged to remove silt in preparation for work to begin.
Design and scoping of the Angau Memorial Hospital is set to start this week.
Meanwhile, Morobe Governor Luther Wenge urged the government to award more contracts to local companies who were performing up to standard.
Speaking at the same occasion, he praised the government for following on its commitments and honouring them.
Wenge thanked the Prime Minister for K117 million delivered by Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal in January for Lae road projects saying the government was keeping up its implementation drive programme.
Wenge complemented Ahi Sieng and its partner company, Dekenai, for good quality work saying their achievement from Unitech to Butibam village, constructed last year and the completed road were clear indications that they were up against the best.
Defence Minister Bob Dadae, who was also a guest speaker, said priority must be given to traditional landowners in the city in the awarding of business contracts.
e said Lae historically contributed a lot to the coffers of the country and businesses and the government had made millions out of Ahi land.